Recently on Facebook I posted about buying my WKC shinai, and a couple of tweaks I had done. I had a brief conversation with someone about, and thought I would write a little about my individual shinai here too.

So, as my regular reader will know, I like fat shinai. Impossible fat. Jabba the Shinai. But with a couple of minor modifications.

The balance is important (obviously) but for me it’s right in my hands. Any feeling of weight in the tip is bad, as far as I am concerned. I like a fast, whippy, kote uchi, and I can’t do that with a heavy kensaki. I’m so concerned about this that I will use the more expensive doubled up leather tsukagawa to add an extra few grammes towards the hands. Every little helps!

The other thing I am actually quite fussy about is shaving down parts of the tsukagawa.

I use shinai with a 30mm diameter at the end. That is big (next time you are in your local bogu shop, or talking to a supplier, ask them. If they even stock them, I would put money on them being special order only….) This in itself is not totally normal, but in addition to that, I also have 2mm taken of the base of the shinai, down to 28mm, for my left little finger only. Very wierd, but I was first put onto this by Sumi Masatake sensei. He doesn’t do it to the same magnitude, but he also sands down the side of the bottom of his shinai.

For me, it really cements the shinai to my hand to have this extra couple of mm of grip, and really does make a difference to the last few cm of control, when I attack.

As a result of this, I’m also toying with the idea of doing something similar for my right forefinger and thumb, because after figuring out that this helped, it suddenly felt like I was holding a wine bottle in my thumb and fore finger on the right too.

Apparently, I’m not even close to being the only one to do this. The mighty Miyazaki Masahiro sensei apparently has his whole right hand grip koban-gata, while the left remains a normal circular grip. Apparently a few other members of the Kanagawa police do the same….